END OF LIFE
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) released a pamphlet enitled “The Gift of Life in the Face of Death” and here are some reflections to consider as you prepare for the death of a loved one:
“Dying need not be a time of pain and despair. It can be a time when we come to terms with life. A time to say ‘I love you’ and receive love from others. A time to concentrate on what is really important, and to make our peace with God. It can be our final stage of growth, and our gateway to eternal life."
‘Assisting’ death abandons people whose real problems we do not want to deal with. What people need—especially when they are sick and helpless—is assistance in living with dignity. Pope John Paul II called such assistance ‘the way of love and true mercy.’ It requires true compassion, which means to “suffer with” the person in need. It involves controlling pain, caring when we can no longer cure, and treating each person like the unique and precious individual that he or she is. Each of us deserves nothing less.
If you are facing end of life issues or if you want to “assist others to live with dignity” as they face end of life issues here are a few things that you can do:
1. If you are a caregiver join a support group. Do not think that you have to do this alone or even try to do this alone. You will get burnt out too quickly. Allow others to support you as you support the person whom you are caring for.
2. Seek out people in your family and community who are at a risk of dying alone and keep them company. Your presence will mean more to them than you will ever know.
3. Volunteer or provide assistance to your local hospice organization.
4. Pray for dying patients and their families at home and at Sunday Mass. Pray that they may receive the respect and care they need and that they will trust in the Lord’s plan and not give into any fears.
5. Become an Extraordinary (Eucharistic) Minister of Holy Communion in your parish or hospital and bring the Eucharist to those who are sick and those who are homebound.
6. Volunteer at a nursing home, or provide respite care for families caring for their seriously ill members at home.
7. Learn more about moral issues involving the end of life, and share your knowledge with others. For more resources check out the Archdiocese of St. Louis’s Respect Life Apostolate’s webpage: www.archstl.org/respectlife.
8. Teach your children about the value of all human life.
9. Pray for those who do not respect human life
10. Choose your language carefully when talking about end of life issues and talk to a trusted family member expressing to them of your wishes to follow God’s will.
Arrangements can be made with a priest for Church visitation of the deceased, the funeral Mass of Christian Burial or a memorial Mass for the deceased.
The Director of Liturgical Music will help you prepare the music.
Contact: The Parish Office 636-225-5268